Trends come and go in this industry, which is a good thing. We all need change, even in the restaurant business. At the risk of sounding whiny (I suppose it’s too late for that), I am ready for the current craft cocktail craze to move along.
I found myself in a local bar recently (hmm, can we still call it a bar?), joining up with my wife and some friends. At this point in the evening, the cocktail server had been cut, so I had to rely on the mixologist to get my drink. As I stood at the bar, seemingly forever, I watched as this gentleman played with his….shaker. I patiently waited–yes I know, that is not a word often used to describe me–as he put together a concoction that consisted of about ten ingredients.
Can I just get a glass of bourbon, please?
I had never seen a drink, stirred and shaken before, but I guess there is a first time for everything. Not only did he put all of this effort into the making of this cocktail, I got to listen while he described the drink in excessive detail, to the customer, who I imagine was ready to start consuming the thing about five minutes earlier.
He finally made his way over to me and I got to order my drink. Imagine the disappointment on his face when I just ordered a bourbon neat. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that my bourbon cost more than the drink with ten ingredients. Someone may have to explain that one to me someday. I know he wanted me to at least order it on the rocks so he could ask me which one of the three different types of ice I would like. Regular cube, crushed, or my new favorite–the giant ice cube. Everyone knows the giant ice cube keeps the drink cold without making it watery, right?
I guess when it comes down to it I would rather have some crusty old-school bartender than a new age mixologist. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing bars infuse their own vodkas and having a lineup of spray bottles filled with house-made bitters, but at least a bartender knows how to crank out drinks fast and recognize that he has a new customer at his bar. Putting drinks out fast is how a bar makes money, not by making one drink every five minutes.